Blood Libel: The blood libels were false accusations of Jews condemning them wrongly of ritual sacrifices. The crimes that were said that the Jew commited were brutal as the image chosen depicts a Blood Libel. These accusations when made led to the execution of the Jews. These blood libels were rooted in a deep distrust of Jews as a monstrous others racializing him in an unpleasant frame. This anti-Semitism led to the explusion of Jews from England in 1290. These horrorific stories told about Jews are reasons to understand the downside of racializing has in impacting how people relate and see each other. In the focus of the Blood Libel, Jews as seen as evil. What can be learned from the Blood Libel is that people will use racializing as a means of control and dividing people among racial groups unsure of how to act when religious differences confront.
Simon of Trent was allegedly one of the children that were used as victims in ritual murders, under the false beliefs of the Blood Libel, committed by the Jews of Trent. Simon was found to have drowned, but at the time, authorities declared that it was another case of the Jews kidnapping an innocent Christian child and torturing him to death. Due to this declaration, a group of Jews were captured, imprisoned, tortured, and executed, after obtaining false confessions.
Pope Paul VI anulled Pope Gregory XII's declaration as Simon as a martyr and a saint and clearing the names of the Jews of Trent, declaring that they had no part in Simon's death.
Analysis of picture:
One aspect of this picture that the artist really did to drive home that this picture was of Jews committing this brutal murder was the exaggeration of the stereotypical features of Jews, specifically their noses. They are drawn to have these giant, crooked noses, which also represent how Christians thought that the Jews were crooked people. Additionally, we never see their faces straight on, only from the side, while Simon of Trent is shown from the front. These people are drawn this way not only to be able to show the features of the Jews better, but also to show that the Christian people in the picture are more important, as their whole face and all of their features are showing. Simon also has this shiny gold hair, which looks almost angelic, and represents the purity of a Christian child.
Other Martyrs of the Time:
Others similar to Simon of Trent are those of Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln and a story about William of Norwich.
Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln was found deceased in the bottom of a well. The friends of the nine-year-old boy came forward and stated that a Jewish man had kidnapped and tortured the Christian child for a month before finally killing him. Due to this accusation, over 90 Jews were charged for ritual murder, following the Blood Libel. The original accusee was executed along with 18 others for their crimes.
William of Norwich was a story written by Thomas of Monmouth, surrounding another child that was murdered due to the Blood Libel. William was a skinner in a particular town and all of the Jewish people tended to use his services because they preferred his work. Eventually, as the story goes, he was 'led to slaughter' by the Jewish people and brutally murdered.